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UCP MLA under fire for separatist comments

Last Updated Jun 19, 2020 at 10:49 am MDT

Cypress-Medicine Hat UCP MLA Drew Barnes (CREDIT: Drew_Barnes, Twitter)

EDMONTON (660 NEWS) – A United Conservative MLA is facing backlash over what the Opposition calls “harmful” separatist comments.

In an open letter posted to social media, Cypress-Medicine Hat MLA Drew Barnes suggested separation if Alberta fails to get Ottawa’s attention regarding issues brought forward from the Fair Deal Panel.

The report from the panel, released earlier this week, made several recommendations in favour of provincial autonomy.

They included the creation of an Alberta police service, a provincial pension plan and demands for major changes to federal equalization payments.

Barnes said he wants to build a “reformed Canada that treats all its people equally and fairly” and mentioned separation at least four times in his close to 2,000-word letter.

Lethbridge-West NDP MLA Shannon Phillips said Barnes needs to focus on helping his constituents and said the Premier needs to pay attention.

“Mr. Kenney needs to be pretty clear with these folks who are playing footsy with separatists.”

Phillips added it doesn’t stop at Barnes, and Premier Kenney needs to take a stand and kick any separatists out of his party.

“If he is actually interested in being a patriotic Canadian and focusing on what Albertans want him to focus on, which is jobs and the economy, then he should suspend these folks from caucus.”

She noted there are others in the UCP Caucus who believe the province should take on a more separatist ideology.

Barnes posted the letter to his website and Twitter.

While some commenters applauded Barnes for taking a bold stance, others called the letter nothing more than stoking the flames of the Wexit movement and separatist rhetoric.